Paul Stockham's Blog
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

The Best and Worst of Modern Society

On Sunday I watched two programs which really highlighted the best and worst of modern society. Two contrasting examples of the role models we give our kids.

The first was a documentary on the 2004 Hawaii Ironman on Universal Sport. Really well made with fantastic filming of this spectacular island and some excellent sub stories about some of the competitors and their motivations and challenges. Two were particularly touching and emotional.

Tracey Richardson a 40 year old mother of four from New Zealand. She was competing to raise money for two of her children who have cystic fibrosis. She spent two years getting fit and healthy and finished in 15 hours and 17 minutes.

The second was Sarah Reinertsen, an amazing athlete who had her left leg amputated at 7 years old due to a condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD). She competes with a prosthetic leg in an event which is notoriously hard even if you are fit and healthy. 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, plus the lava fields of Hawaii are legendary for their heat, hills and headwinds!

Sarah missed the cut at the end of the bike leg by 15 minutes, and officials wouldn’t let her start the run. I guess rules are rules, but watching it I thought don’t be so petty, let her run! Clearly upset, she handled it well and vowed to come back and try again.

After the program finished I went and Googled Sarah and was pleased to find out she not only came back in 2005, but completed the whole event in 15 hours and 5 minutes!

Reading through her website and blog she describes using a revolutionary “running foot” prosthetic and amazingly she has to use 40% more oxygen and twice the energy of someone with two legs to complete a Triathlon!

Her life and positive attitude is a really uplifting story and she now works as a motivational speaker.

We now get to the second part of the story and I will warn you now this is a bit of a rant! I stumbled upon the inaccurately named – Celebrity Fit Club.

I have to say I am not a big fan of reality or celebrity TV shows and what a motley crew of D (Z?) list celebrities. I honestly have no idea who half these people are!

Anything that encourages people to get fit and healthy is a good thing, but with the exception of Sebastian Bach most of the others whined and moaned about everything they were asked to do and then the hosts and trainers talked up their mediocre efforts! I see plenty of normal people demonstrate more commitment to getting fit or losing weight every day?

Without a doubt the worst offenders were the feckless Kevin Federline. “K-Feck” only seems to be famous as the ex Mr. Britney Spears, before he fell off that gravy train. He looks like he drank most of the gravy before he fell off and gives the term half assed a bad name!

Then we heard Bobby Brown complaining he ran a marathon yesterday and now has to do a triathlon. Sorry Bobby, 3 miles in an hour is not running a marathon; it’s called GOING FOR A WALK!

For the record, a “marathon” is 26.2 miles and named after the legend of a Greek soldier – Pheidippides who ran from Marathon to Athens (26 miles) with news of the defeat of the Persians. According to legend he ran all the way, delivered his message and then died of exhaustion.

After ten minutes of watching this I was ready to turn over/turn off when coincidentally they bring in a special guest to coach the contestants. None other than Sarah Reinertsen! Surely her story and attitude would motivate this bunch of whiners?

To a degree, but not with Mr Brown! A Triathlon has three disciplines, so a short run followed by an incomplete bike ride doesn’t really qualify and getting in an SUV is definitely not the last leg of a Triathlon! His excuse he had a bad leg!

Andy Warhol coined the phrase “15 minutes of fame”, but why do the media now give these people with nothing worthwhile to say a whole series?

What do you want to watch; a Sarah Reinertsen or the Kevin Federlines and Bobby Browns of this world desperately trying to prolong their 15 minutes of fame? I know who gets my vote.

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One Response to “The Best and Worst of Modern Society”

  1. I loved this article. It seems if we are going to endure reallity tv it could at least be about someone who uplifts your heart and allows you to dream of emulating their accomplishments


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